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Advertising association gets regional chapter reboot

American Advertising Federation-Southwest Florida set for July 1 relaunch.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. June 21, 2019
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Several years after suspending its chapter, the American Advertising Federation-Southwest Florida will officially reactivate July 1.

The professional advertising and marketing association is accepting membership applications from advertisers, agencies, media companies and advertising service providers in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry Counties.

The relaunch also brings back to the region the American Advertising Awards — the ADDYs — the nation’s oldest and largest advertising competition honoring creative excellence. For several years, agencies in Southwest Florida joined members of AdFed Suncoast, in the Sarasota-Bradenton market, in the ADDYs competition.

For Fort Myers-based Conric PR & Marketing President Connie Ramos-Williams, the restart is long overdue in a growing market with an increasing number of advertising and marketing agencies.

“To have an active chapter here, there has to be enough people interested and membership to support it,” Ramos-Williams tells Coffee Talk. “Southwest Florida has grown so much over the last decade and there are many more advertising agencies in the marketplace. This will provide education and transparency for the profession and elevate the advertising profession to the next level here.”

First recognized in 1981, the new AAF-SWFL’s board of directors includes its executive committee, committee chairs, and at-large members. Tim Hennessy will serve as president, Kate Kintz as vice president, Julie Lawrence as secretary and Jim Wyatt will be the club's treasurer. Other board members include Don Gross, Josh Milton, Erin Donati, Lisa Absher, Stephen Blancett, Bob Beville, Nancy Solliday and Laura Brandano. 

In addition, the organization has an advisory board of trustees comprised of all past presidents. Wendy Payton will serve as its chairwoman, and other members include Christopher Spiro, Stephen Gray-Blancett, Gary Firestone, Kerri Goldsmith, Lee Susdorf and Steve Hagewood.

“Having the AAF back in the region will create greater opportunities for clients and will strive to make sure everybody is adhering to best standards of practice and ethics,” says Ramos-Williams. “We are thrilled it’s back, and it’s a demonstration of the positive growth in our region.”


This story has been updated to include the organization's board of directors and clarify the role of its board of trustees. 


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